If there’s one consistent theme among the Uproxx family, it’s that we love
sodomy communism gymnastics Seltzer/Friedberg movies Glenn Beck animals. For the most part, it’s not because we’re a bunch of tree-hugging hippies, but more because we can’t help but find humorous fascination in animals dressed as people. To be fair, we also only like cute animals, because who likes ugly? In fact, Uproxx is actually Latin for “studly beasts of testosterone.” See? You learn something every day.
But that’s not to say that we’d alienate all ugly animals to the point of extinction. After all, even the ugliest animal is cute to someone. That’s why when we read stories of endangered rhinos being slaughtered by rifle from helicopters in African reserves because hunters think their horns have magical powers (sadly, that actually just happened) we get angry. It’s not fair, nor is it remotely funny, when any animal is killed because of negligence and especially ignorance. Most animals can’t defend themselves from flying vehicles that contain men with high-powered laser-sight rifles. The lone exception, of course, is the titanium-plated laser diamond bear, which has heat-seaking claw bullets. I may have dreamt that one, though.
While I can’t list every endangered species on the planet. I would need a few million words, a case of Patron, and maybe an iPad if anyone from Apple is reading this. The fact is that we hear so much about animals like the penguin, cheetah, chimpanzee, manatee, hippo, rhinoceros, brown bear, black bear, panda bear, polar bear, and pretty much every other bear in the world, and that’s good because people need to be educated about the decimated populations of these animals before we have thousands more dodos on our hands. But so many other little guys are left without a voice, so consider this a sampler of the cuteness that we’re losing on a daily basis.
Aldabra Flying Fox
A flying fox is actually a really cool name for a variety of bat that is indigenous to Asia’s tropical regions. They’re the largest bats known to man, but they get their awesome name because they look like foxes in the face. When in flight, they’re super fast and to get their food they crash into bushes and trees to attack fruits. You know, because fruits can be so agile and evasive. However, the flying fox - the Aldabra variety sadly being an example of the many species - is on the verge of extinction because people like the natives of Ghana and the Mariana Islands find them quite delicious. The meat is sold for top dollar throughout Asia, but you can trust me that imitation flying fox meat is equally delicious.
Black-footed Rock Wallaby
These little marsupials are dwindling in numbers in South Australia, with current reports having their population as small as 50. But local wildlife heroes are working their fuzzy tails off to save the wallabies, and they’re doing a decent job, but the enemies are still poking their whiskered faces into the black-footed habitats. While foxes have long been a predatory foe of the adorable nephew of the kangaroos, it’s human laziness that has been the real danger for wallabies. Feral cats have spiked in population, destroying the natural habitat of the wallaby, thus furthering my rock solid argument that cats are the devil’s pet.
Cloud Forest Pygmy Owl
Also known as the True or Typical Owl, the Cloud Forest pygmy owl is one of 25 types of pygmy owls and nearly 200 species of this type of owl, as opposed to the other type – barn owls. Since 1850, three species of mascarene owls and the laughing owl have been declared extinct, while many others are endangered and nearing the same fate. The Cloud Forest variety lives in Central and South Colombia and parts of Ecuador, mainly in the West Andes mountains. While there are extensive efforts underway to create national parks to help the owls survive, rapid and often careless road expansion, logging and gold mining are quickly destroying the pygmy’s natural habitat.
Dwarf Musk Deer
Of all the species of deer, the musk deer is the most endangered, as poachers throughout China and Asia hunt the little fellas down for their musk. Geez, hunted for musk? That’s something I know a little too well. The dwarf musk deer is unique in that the males have abnormally long canine teeth, so they look like deer vampires, which is pretty cool. The problem, though, is that those long teeth do very little to protect them from the animals that also hunt them, including lynx and wolverines. So if you’re keeping track, the dwarf musk deer has more enemies than New York Jets fans.
Ecuatorian Spiny Pocket Mouse
Found throughout Ecuador, Mexico and parts of Texas, the spiny pocket mouse is kind of like the result of mating between a mouse and a porcupine, as this breed features small quills on the backside. Basically, it’s a mouse with a defense system. Because they live in relatively uninhabitable places – at least mostly undesirable environments for most humans – the spiny pocket mouse should seemingly be safe, burrowing into the dry ground with cheeks adorably full of seeds. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Humans are indeed destroying the natural habitats of all types of spiny pocket mice, which is good news for anyone looking to live on uninhabitable land.
Similar to the Cloud Forest Pygmy Owl, the Forest Owlet is a member of the Typical Owl family, but is generally found in India’s forests. The Forest Owlet is unique in that up until 1997, it was believed that this bird was extinct, having last been spotted in the 1800s. Upon its re-discovery, the species has been closely monitored in the face of logging and construction destroying India’s forestry. It is believed that the owlet’s population is less than 250 at this point, which makes it as rare as people who watch Outsourced.
Grizzled Tree Kangaroo
Somewhere in time, one of two things happened – either a select group of skilled kangaroos learned how to climb trees or opossum grew giant tails. Either way, the grizzled tree kangaroo is basically a miniature kangaroo with a regular kangaroo’s tail. This marsupial hails from New Guinea, where it hangs out in the rain forests… which are, of course, being destroyed by human development. Even worse for the tree kangaroos is that people hunt them for their meat, and they pretty much stink at evading hunters because they’re incredibly clumsy. They’re like the drunk sorority girls of New Guinea.
Aside from having a name that makes me giggle like a 12-year old, Heck’s macaque is a species of monkey found in Indonesia. These tiny monkeys are the victims of destruction of habitat by humans, but they’re also being scooped up and sold as pets. The problem with that is, well, you can’t really expect a wild monkey to make a good pet. The Heck’s macaque, though, is being bred outside of Indonesia as a means of preserving the animal. But don’t worry too much. Those people buying the macaques as pets? A macaque was once documented as infecting a scientist with the incredibly rare Herpes B virus. So we have that to look forward to.
The thrush is a type of little bird, and it bears noting that it belongs to the family Turdidae. It’s OK, I’m laughing pretty hard, too. But I’m not laughing about the plight of the Izu thrush, which is indigenous to some of Japan’s islands. The little birds have feather patterns and colors that make it look a lot like a robin, and it’s those feathers that are causing people to round up these thrushes and kill them for their own decoration desires. So you can have pretty earrings, but it means that a species has to die for it. Think about that the next time you pluck a bird for profit.
Jackson Prairie Crawfish
Imagine sitting in your house or apartment, minding your own business, just going about your day, maybe eating or having a little over-the-clothes romp with your significant other on your lunch break from the Piggly Wiggly. Then all of a sudden a giant machine shows up and crushes your home and kills you. That’s the life of the Jackson Prairie Crayfish, which makes its home in the soil and wetlands of Jackson Prairie, Mississippi. Constant development and construction are decimating this species, and it’s impossible to know just how bad the damage is because we can’t actually count the population of a burrowing crayfish. Our only hope is that they learn how to use Facebook.
The Kakapos is an incredibly odd parrot, as it is nocturnal and flightless, which makes it the only parrot to possess either of those qualities, let alone both. These oddities have also been the incredibly adorable bird’s downfall over the past few hundred years. Before people ever lived on the island of New Zealand, the Kakapos was king. Sure, it was gobbled up by the island's many reptiles, but it was still a thriving species. Eventually, though, settlers arrived and brought so many new animals with them. Between the new species feeding on the Kakapos, people hunting them for their unique feathers, and the destruction of their habitats, the Kakapos population is as low as 62. Thankfully, animal groups have rounded up the Kakapos they’ve been able to find and have relocated them to safer habitats. Hopefully it’s Switzerland, which boasts the lowest crime rate in the world. And if you found yourself laughing at Kaka... you're all right in my book.
Once common throughout the Middle East, the Laggar Falcon has become quite rare for incredibly dickish reasons. First, the birds are being killed by irresponsible and increased use of pesticides throughout countries like India and Iran. But they’re also being killed by other falcons. Sounds normal, sure. That’s just nature. Too bad the Laggar Falcons are being used as bait by poachers abducting the larger falcons. That’s like the guys who date the questionable friends in order to win over the hot friends. Not that I’d know anything about that.
I’m going to be blunt here – I freaking love penguins. I go to Sea World at least once per year and I spend about 5 hours just watching those little birds do their thing, and I love it as much now as I did when I was 6 years old. The Macaroni Penguins are the smaller – but possibly the same – version of the Royal Penguin, which means they’re like the princes and princesses of the penguin kingdom. Too bad they’re being needlessly killed by commercial fishing nets and marine pollution. There are still millions of these awesome flightless birds, but they have already completely disappeared from some of their most established habitats – like Southern Chile, for example. It also doesn’t help that sea lions and other similar predators are known to steal the Macaroni Penguin eggs for a quick snack. Why does this world have to be so full of adorable-on-adorable crime?
New Guinea Pademelon
A tiny wallaby found in the south central lowlands of New Guinea, the Pademelon is being wiped out by industrial land clearing and brush fires. Not a particularly quick breed, the Pademelon depend on the brush for protective covering when they’re out scouring for food, since they spend most of their time chilling in their forests and wetlands. But when the brush is burned, they’re left susceptible to feral cats and pigs that have been left behind by careless farmers. So you think about that the next time you refuse to adopt that lonely black sheep that shows up on Farmville.
The Omilteme Cottontail hasn’t been seen in the wild in its native Mexico for almost 100 years, and it is only found in the Sierra Madre del Sur mountain range. A few are believed to still be alive, yet the drastic decline in the population of Pedro Cottontail still only has this species at “Vulnerable.” Now I’m no big city environmentalist, but when you haven’t seen one of these little big-eared furballs in a century because of deforestation and poaching, it might be time to sound the proverbial alarm. And P.S. – people who poach tiny rabbits are as low on my humanity totem pole as people who Tweet about how much they love Khloe Kardashian and people who wear knockoff Ed Hardy.
Not much different from any other pelicans you’ve ever seen, the Peruvian Pelican is your typical goofy-looking water bird with a giant beak and throat, but it’s also about twice the size of regular brown pelicans, which are like its distant American cousins. The Peruvian Pelicans also have a little tuft of feathers on their heads, sort of like a pelican faux hawk, which might make them the douchebags of the Pacific Ocean. Regardless, the two biggest culprits in the declining population of this species are jerkface tourists and that a-hole El Nino. In fact, everything was fine with the Peruvian Pelicans until El Nino knocked the population down to about 500,000. Real cool, El Nino. Maybe pick on a fish-feeding ocean bird your own size, dick.
If it seems like I’m concentrating mostly on marsupials, well, you’re probably right. But I can’t help it, look how freaking cute the Quokka is! It’s almost unfair. I want to buy a giant cage and raise an army of them to pull my carriage while I sing Backstreet Boys ballads to sorority girls. Instead, much like the aforementioned marsupials, the Quokka is being threatened mainly by the progress of agriculture on the islands that they live on. It also doesn’t help that dingoes and foxes have been gobbling the Quokkas up, and they’re also being killed by dogs. Just to be sure, I interrogated my pit mix last night to make sure that she didn’t know anything about this. She claims she’s never been to Australia. I’m inclined to trust her.
Hey look, it’s another endangered animal from Australia. I’m sensing one of two themes here – 1) Australia is home to some of the cutest animals in the world or B) Animals don’t stand a chance living in Australia.Just like the Black-footed Rock Wallaby, the biggest enemies of the Rabbit Bandicoot are foxes and feral cats. At about the size of a softball, the Rabbit Bandicoot is all ears, and the foxes and cats sneak up on their burrows and attack for a quick meal. Unfortunately, these marsupials aren’t equipped with TNT crates and Bowling Bombs.
Sahamalaza Sportive Lemur
You know when your kid made you watch that movie Madagascar and there was that really funny lemur, King Julien, voiced by Sacha Baren Cohen? Well, in a few more years and with a few more sequels, Cohen probably won’t have a job. The Sahamalaza Sportive Lemur is native to Madagascar and they’ve seen better days, as they’re currently facing dwindling numbers thanks to diminishing forestry on the African island and especially sissy hunters who can’t pick on animals their own size. Hunters kill the lemurs with little pansy traps, as the lemurs’ fur is somewhat valuable in trade, and they also screw the tiny critters over by cutting down their trees to set up camp. There are probably only about a thousand of the lemurs remaining, so if you’re a hunter in Africa and you get your jollies from hunting small, defenseless animals, then Madagascar is the place for you.
Tasmanian Forester Kangaroo
Hey look, we’re heading back to Australia again for another kangaroo that is being killed for stupid reasons. Since the 1800s, the Tasmanian Forester Kangaroo population has plummeted because of hunters who kill the kangaroos and their groups - known as mobs for my Jersey friends - for their meat. Because you know when you’re in Australia and you’re hankering for a big meal, you don’t want to have a lame salad or a steak - you want endangered kangaroo meat. And when people aren’t killing these kangaroos for their meat, the animals are busy fighting with other animals for land and homes because other animals that have been unnaturally introduced to the island are killing them or leaving them homeless. Even worse, people who don’t even care about the kangaroo meat are just poisoning them with pesticides and bait traps to help clear land. It'll make you think twice about buying that timeshare on Tasmania.
Utah Prairie Dog
Much to my surprise, the Utah Prairie Dog is not a Mormon sex trick, nor is it a non-alcoholic shot. The westernmost prairie dog in North America, the Utah variety is being killed off because of typical stuff like land development and agriculture, but the main reason the little guys are dying is because they have been exposed to something called the sylvatic plague. Basically, the prairie dogs are dying because they were exposed to the bubonic plague, or the black death for those of us with basic knowledge of European history. Rescue groups are trying to recolonize the Utah Prairie Dogs and save them from extinction caused by this flea-transmitted disease. My dog had fleas once and it sucked. So I hope we can find all these fleas and kick their little disease-spreading asses.
Like the Omilteme Cottontail, the Volcano Rabbit is native to Mexico, and I like to think that it was the inspiration behind Taco Bell’s delicious Volcano Tacos that are responsible for the extinction of my rippling ab muscles. The Volcano Rabbits, also my favorite Veruca Salt song, are almost extinct because of the decreasing habitation they’ve experienced, mainly because land use has pushed them into environments that they can’t survive. But if you were wondering if there was an even more dickish reason there are only a few hundred - if even that many - of these widdle wabbits left, well you’re in luck. Hunters like to use the Volcano Rabbits for target practice. That’s right, instead of paper cutouts of Osama Bin Laden or beer cans on a fence, Mexican gunslingers go out into the wild and pick these little rabbits off for no reason other than they have ammunition to waste.
I have to give people in Canada credit. While I like to make jokes about how boring hockey is or how much better regular bacon is than Canadian bacon, the people in America’s hat do take good care of their animals. Well, kind of. The Woodland Caribou is in trouble because of coal mining, gas exploration and other destructions of the northern forestry and woodlands. Canadian animal groups are trying very hard to help save the caribou that are in danger of extinction, but the Woodland Caribou in particular are kind of being ignored, because of the focus on greater herds of the other variety of caribou. So it’s kind of like the Woodland Caribou are the Canadians of animals. Just kidding, Canada, I love you, eh?
It took me a few hours and a few arguments to determine that Xantus's Murrelet was not, in fact, an old Nintendo game, but a bird that lives in the Pacific Ocean, off the coasts of California and Mexico. The Murrelet feeds deep at sea, mostly on tuna, but the problem with that is the birds are exposed to the high traffic of oil tankers and other boats. The main reason this adorable little bird is near extinction is that oil spills poison their feeding areas. Additionally, in their habitats of ports and coastlines, the Murrelets are gobbled up by rats and feral cats. Once again, cats are responsible for unspeakable evils. Even Keyboard Cat can’t help calm my feline rage.
When I was growing up, we had an umbrella cockatoo named Percy, and he was pretty much the coolest bird in the world. But I hope that we didn’t get this cockatoo for the same reason that the Yellow-crested Cockatoo population has dropped ridiculously over the past century. Native to Indonesia and surrounding areas, the Yellow-crested Cockatoo is a favorite in the illegal bird trades of Asia. The birds are removed from their habitats and sold as pets, and they rarely survive because people are idiots and don’t realize that wild birds don’t make good pets. In recent years, the Yellow-crested Cockatoo has become a regular resident of many reserves throughout Europe and Asia, but the worldwide population still rests below 2,500.
Zhou's Box Turtle
The only living Zhou’s Boz Turtles have been recovered from Vietnam and China, where they are illegally sold as pets and for food. Well, it’s not illegal, because people in those regions don’t care about these shelled creatures, but still… it’s pretty dick. I mean, who the hell eats a turtle? Unless your name is Shredder or Krang, leave turtles alone. Various reserves throughout the world are making efforts to save the Zhou’s Box Turtle, but their survival is seemingly hopeless. So if you’ve eaten a Zhou’s Box Turtle recently, do us all a favor and punch yourself in the nuts. If you have one as a pet, do us all a favor and breed it. They’ll thank you for the sex, and probably the chance to survive.